The summer travel season kick-off is this weekend, and according to one consumer survey (Deloitte), half of us want to get away, at least for an overnight trip. Yellowstone National Park’s busiest season is summer, and while not all roads are open yet, visitors are welcome this weekend. Craig Mackey with the Outdoor Industry Association is encouraging people to visit a national park this summer to demonstrate how popular they are at a time when budget cuts are threatening operations.

"By keeping those parks open, keeping that recreation infrastructure open, you are feeding a much larger economy - that cannot be outsourced, cannot be sent overseas."

The survey also shows many people plan to stay closer to home because of high gas prices. That sets the stage for more visits to all sorts of public lands in the region, with Mackey pointing out that private entities have been pitching in to support funding for those public spaces. He says across the country, there have been at least 30 initiatives to protect open space on the ballot, and more than 80 percent of them have passed.

"And if we look at this collaboratively, we can build and maintain a very dynamic recreation infrastructure, that supports a very dynamic recreation economy."

According to the National Park Service, Yellowstone visitors spend an average of 840-dollars during their trip.  Mackey’s group estimates recreation contributes 730-billion dollars to state and local economies every year across the country.